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It's missing 11 important minutes..!
Subject: Mind your necks!
Although set in Germany, there is nothing very German about any of the cast. In particular, Melvyn Douglas gives a very British "stiff upper-lipped" performance as the police inspector who refuses to believe in any of this vampire nonsense, even as more deaths occur. That said, this is a reasonably good story with some well thought out characterisation. The village idiot starts out as being an affable loony, but then becoming an object of fear and hate. The film has some nice touches like the cork popping out of a flask when Melvyn Douglas kisses Fay Wray in the laboratory. Much of the action is at night so the film does look very dark in places. The mystery is solved at the end, and we finally learn just what was going on in all of these bubbling pots in the lab.
Subject: Cocktails in the Blood Bank
A spooky old European village gripped by fear. Mysterious murders with the victims drained of blood. Dwight Frye as the bat loving village weirdo. If all this wasn't enough, add a solid cast that consists of Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray and Melvin Douglas. This is a vampire movie, but not the kind you think. Discovering what kind of evil ghoul is at work is half the fun in watching this atmospheric little thriller. A minor distraction is the overuse of comic relief supplied by Maude Eburne. Nevertheless "The Vampire Bat" is a horror quickie that honestly earns its four stars.
Subject: they're all bats!
The presence of Messers Douglas, Atwill and Frye together with Fay (King Kong )Wray, gives an air of quality to this B picture and makes it very watchable in spite of its great age.
Subject: Worth Watching
Here's a not-at-all scary horror movie leavened with good comedy. It features good acting, and good dialog. The basic story is that in a modern-day - 1930s - small, German town people are being bled dry at night, there are two holes in their necks, and there are currently a lot of bats hanging (sorry) around. Kudos to the director for using shots of real bats, unusual for movies of this vintage.
Well, hmm, the ignorant, superstitious villagers including the Burgomaster, who should know better, think vampire. They are abetted in this by the affable town doctor, played by Lionel Atwill. The doubtful police inspector, played by Melvyn Douglas, keeps his eyes on one of the doctor's assistants, played by Fay Wray, and frets as more people die. Hysteria leads to the death of the town idiot, played wonderfully by Dwight Frye, who played Renfield in Dracula.
But, no, this isn't a vampire movie. It's a Frankenstein-type movie with a madman who uses remote mind control. I would have enjoyed it more if the movie had some terror, creepiness or some frights in it.
I downloaded the 512Kb mpeg4 file. Video and audio were fine.
Subject: Good entertainment
Not great, but enjoyable and comfortably predictable for those who enjoy these early horror films. Cute finale takes off the harder edge of the killer's demise at the close of the story.
Subject: Old fashion fun
It should be noted that this film helped Ms. Wray's career. She did another film with Mr. Atwill called The Mystery of the Wax Museum which lead to King Kong. To answer a reviewer's question about the lack of music in the film; low budget pictures didn't have the money to have an orchestral score. The music was used at that time to set the mood of the film. Please note in classics ie Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, Dr Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (1932) and Freaks it was not an esential part of the film. That is the way it was until 1935 with the Technicolor film, Becky Sharp.
Subject: Not without merit
This little gem has both Fay Wray and Dwight Fry in it, and solely based on that it is worth a viewing. However, it doesn't stand up to the other Horror flicks of the time all that well.
Still, as I said, it is definatley woth a look.
Subject: Not the best "Print"
But even the DVD releases of these Pre-Code "Majestic" films are not up to the audio quality of Douglas Shearer's MGM work.
Just how they got Fay Wray and Melvin Douglas to do this, I don't know, but that was probably their whole budget right there.
Regardless of the poor quality, a great flick, not really a horror movie, more like a science fiction film, the ending was fairly predictable.
I waited until 12:30 AM to run this onto my TV, and it was more effective that way.
Subject: Nice little film...
Nice little film from the good ol' times... I enjoyed watching it but apparently there are some scenes missing. According to imdb.com the film runs 71 minutes. This version has only about 59 minutes... Does anybody know something about that? Is imdb.com wrong or is this a cut version of the film?
Subject: Unexpectedly good, little-known horror film (long review)
After having read several reviews, I was actually surprised by how good this movie was. "The Vampire Bat" may not have obtained the reputation of "Dracula" or "Frankenstein" because it so obviously borrows elements from those two movies as well as others; that aside, however, it is remarkably well-made, if I do say so myself. Mystery/suspense/horror with a nice element of sonambulism. Beautiful moving camera work in some scenes, and AWESOME title credits music (but none for the rest of the film.)
Good acting overall - especially entertaining performances from Lionel Atwill, Maude Eburn, and Dwight Frye (can't go wrong with him). Melvyn Douglas and Fay Wray play their roles, but are sort of *blah* (I guess that's what normally comes from the romantic lead and his love interest.)
Overall, though, definitely check out "The Vampire Bat" to see a really good forgotten horror flick.
(Oh, BTW, this might not be the full version of the film - apparently there are some scenes in the middle that are missing? Nothing that is critical to the film, but would be interesting nonetheless.)
Subject: .Hoakey but effective.
nice vampire movie that scared the tobbacco juice out of me as a little kid.
Douglas fae Aiberdeen -
Subject: AKA Dracula's Cabinet of Doctor Frankenstein
Hmmm... so what we have here is a mad scientist out to create life, vampirism and a mind-controlled somnambulist - in other words, an amalgum of Dracula, Frankenstein and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (the latter of which can be downloaded from this very site.) Caligari has not worn well. The Vampire Bat, on the other hand, still stands up to modern viewing. As already noted, expect good performances from Dwight Frye (reprising his Renfield and Fritz roles in Dracula and Frankenstein respectively) and Melvin Douglas (as the brick-jawed and bone-brained hero - in the right, as it turns out, but obnoxious with it). Faye Wray is beautiful and transparent in that 1930's 'china doll' way, but doesn't have much of a part. Lionel Atwill is hammy enough to sit well next to eggs and toast. The true star, however, is Maude Eburn as the hypochondriac aunt (treated, by the doctor, with 'silasalic acid' and Epsom Salts, the latter of which definitely gets her on the move.) Eburn turns in a splending early 30's comedy turn which is in itself well worth the price of admission.
What? It's free? Even better.
Oh! And there's a mob. With flaming torches. Lead by the Burgomaister...
Fred P. B. -
Subject: Love these old films
Melvyn Douglas...YOUNG. Fay Wray.
Good acting, good copy of film. Sound could be just a tad better.
Overall, worth watching. I was a little disappointed at the end. No gore though :( .
Somebody keeps sucking the blood out of the townspeople. Douglas plas a detective inspector who at first does not believe in the occult. Then there is the doctor, with his beautiful assistant. Of course, the town weirdo .. who is just a bit corny. Then there is the wacky old aunt who thinks she has every ailment in the doctors medical books.
Subject: very good
this film stars Fay Wray of "king Kong" and Dwight Frye who played renfield in the lugosi classic "dracula".
this is a little known classic horror film of that era.